February 2, 2024

FCHockey’s Midterm mock for the 2024 NHL Draft

We’re through the midway mark of the 2024 NHL Draft season, so it’s time to mock it up.

And, while there is still some time left in the regular season, it is never too early to look ahead to the upcoming NHL Draft. 

The 2024 draft class is an intriguing one, with very mixed opinions on a variety of equally intriguing prospects. The draft, which is being held in the nearly-brand-new Las Vegas Sphere, has the opportunity to be one for the history books.

Here’s a look, via the midterm mock, at how the first round could shake down at the 2024 draft:

1. Chicago Blackhawks – Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University (NCAA) | Ranked No. 1

The Chicago Blackhawks shouldn’t be hesitant to take another North Vancouver born center at No. 1 overall this June. Macklin Celebrini has shown that he has all the makings of a top line pivot, and he has been dominant as an underaged-freshman with Boston University. A one-two punch down the middle of Connor Bedard, and Celebrini has potential to be the best in the league, and is an outstanding starting point for Chicago’s rebuild.

2. San Jose – Anton Silayev, D, Torpedo Nizhny Novogorod (KHL) | Ranked No. 3

Towering over his peers at 6-foot-7, Ilya Silayev has been a full-time KHL defenseman with Torpedo this year. His frame and skating ability makes him a hard-to-find blend of size and speed that will be coveted on draft day. The San Jose Sharks, who are in the midst of a rebuild, look to add a defenseman with first-pairing upside to their prospect pool.

3. Anaheim – Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State University (NCAA) | Ranked No. 9

The Anaheim Ducks, who recently acquired Cutter Gauthier, look to add another big piece to their future. Surrounded by players like Pavel Mintyukov, Leo Carlsson, Olen Zellweger and more, Artyom Levshunov would fit in with the youth wave in Orange County. Levshunov boasts above-average tools and speed, and with some work to his defensive side of the game he can become a top-pair defenseman in the NHL.

4. Columbus – Zeev Buium, D, University of Denver (NCAA) | Ranked No. 8

The Columbus Blue Jackets are not afraid of taking a risk on Day 1 of the draft. Zeev Buium is a dynamic offensive player who activates from the blue line and creates offense nearly every time he has the puck on his stick. Pairing him with David Jiricek on the back end should create a versatile top duo on defense for years to come in Columbus.

5. Ottawa – Cole Eiserman, LW, U.S. National U18 Team (USDP) | Ranked No. 13

Once in the conversation for No. 1 of this draft, Cole Eiserman has dropped on a few lists. The Ottawa Senators have the opportunity to add a potential 40-goal scorer with Eiserman. His pure shooting talent and occasional playmaking flashes help him remain a highly coveted prospect. His goal-scoring style would fit well on a line with Senator’s star Tim Stutzle, building a potential dynamic-duo for years to come.

6. Minnesota – Sam Dickinson, D, London Knights (OHL) | Ranked No. 6

The Minnesota Wild have been in and out of playoff contention for years. Despite this, they still have managed to create a highly-touted prospect pool. Adding a stable left-handed defenseman should be a top priority for general manager Bill Guerin and his team on draft day, as they look to find Brock Faber’s future linemate. Sam Dickinson is a good fit with his skating and power play quarterback abilities.

7. Buffalo – Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) | Ranked No. 7

One of the drafts’ biggest risers this season has been Cayden Lindstrom. The Buffalo Sabres, who took Zachary Benson in 2023, will look back to the WHL for their next first-round pick. A largely disappointing season this year for Buffalo results in them adding a 6-foot-4 center who can skate and drive the net hard. Lindstrom’s upside is immense, and Buffalo should be happy with a player of his caliber at No. 7.

8. Montreal – Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL) | Ranked No. 2

The Montreal Canadiens may have passed on Matvei Michkov in last year’s draft, but this year they take a swing on Russian winger Ivan Demidov. One of the most creative draft prospects in recent memory, Demidov has toyed with his MHL competition all season long. He has an innate ability to take control of games with the puck on his stick, and could develop into the best player out of this class.

9. Calgary – Tij Iginla, LW, Kelowna Rockets (WHL) | Ranked No. 23

The Calgary Flames adds a familiar name to their prospect pool with the son of Jarome Iginla. Tij Iginla is a high-pace forward, and keeps himself active in all areas of the game. Iginla isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice, either, and also shows defensive ability. His spark plug play style should make him a fan favorite wherever he lands on draft day.

10. Arizona – Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora IK (Allsvenskan) | Ranked No. 10

The best Norwegian draft prospect of all time is undoubtedly Michael Brandsegg-Nygard. The Arizona Coyotes should be excited to add a gritty winger to their prospect pipeline, and he should mesh well on a line with playmakers such as Clayton Keller or Logan Cooley.

11. Seattle – Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw Spirit (OHL) | Ranked No. 11

We haven’t seen a defenseman torch the OHL in their draft year like Zayne Parekh has this season in a long time. His offensive abilities are among the best in this year’s draft — forwards or defensemen — however he lacks some of the defensive effort of a top-end prospect. The Seattle Kraken should be incredibly excited to add a player of Parekh’s caliber at 11th overall, and his development is one that everyone should keep a close eye on.

12. Nashville – Berkly Catton, C, Spokane Chiefs (WHL) | Ranked No. 5

The Nashville Predators are a team that seems to be stuck between rebuilding and contending. Berkly Catton, a first overall pick in the WHL Bantam Draft in 2021, is a player who showcases offense on every shift. His ability to skate with the puck in transition, and find himself in dangerous areas off-puck should result in a good value pick for the 10-15 range.

13. NY Islanders – Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (Liiga) | Ranked No. 4

The New York Islanders somewhat lack a prospect pool, but adding Finnish center Konsta Helenius should be a step in the right direction. A smart, tactical playmaker, Helenius strings plays together with smart positioning and passing. His style of game should bode well in the NHL, granted he works on his foot-speed.

14. New Jersey – Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) | Ranked No. 14

The New Jersey Devils have had a boatload of high draft picks recently, including Simon Nemec — the No. 2 pick just two years ago. Adding Liam Greentree to their prospect pool brings a high upside winger with skill and size. Greentree excels at dealing with pressure and making plays under pressure, and has been a bright spot on a not-so-bright Windsor Spitfires team this season.

15. Washington – Trevor Connelly, LW, Tri-City Storm (USHL) | Ranked No. 12

Trevor Connelly is a speedy winger who’s game translates well to the NHL. The Washington Capitals should expect a future middle-six scoring winger who can string together deke moves and create offense through transition. Pairing a playmaker like Connelly with someone like Ryan Leonard or Ivan Miroshnichenko should work well for Washington in the future.

16. St. Louis – Adam Jiricek, D, HC Plzen (Czech Extraliga) | Ranked No. 19

The St. Louis Blues had three first round picks in the 2023 draft and are quickly building a respectable future core. Taking a swing on Adam Jiricek makes sense for them. Jiricek has struggled to adapt to the pro level in Czechia this season, but his mobility and defensive ability leave him as an intriguing option. Jiricek, the younger brother of Columbus draft pick David Jiricek, is a project defenseman with potential to be the best blueliner from this draft.

17. San Jose (via PIT) – Emil Hemming, RW, TPS (Liiga) | Ranked No. 18

A strong two-way presence, Emil Hemming has mature size and would immediate bolster the prospect pool of the rebuilding Sharks. Hemming first jumped onto draft radars after his impressive Hlinka Gretzky Cup campaign, and was even selected to represent Finland at the U20 level. His mature frame and play style projects well to the NHL and a potential middle-six role.

18. Philadelphia – Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary Hitmen (WHL) | Ranked No. 15

Carter Yakemchuk is an exciting player to watch, especially when he’s showcasing his high end skill. While Yakemchuk is a dynamic offensive defenseman, there are a few defensive issues that need work. The Philadelphia Flyers are a good team to work on these issues, as they have been able to coach Cameron York into becoming a valuable NHL defenseman.

19. Detroit – Igor Chernyshov, LW, Dynamo Moskva (KHL) | Ranked No. 17

The Detroit Red Wings have an insane amount of players in their prospect pool, and without any real ‘hole’ in their pool can just take a guy who projects well. Igor Chernyshov isn’t otherworldly good at anything in particular, but he is just good at nearly everything. His speed comes in bursts, catching defensemen off guard. He regularly takes over MHL games with his puck protection and stickhandling, making it tough to stop him. Chernyshov is a potential second or third liner once he hits his full development stride.

20. Los Angeles – Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa Generals (OHL) | Ranked No. 20

The Los Angeles Kings haven’t picked in the first two rounds since they took Brandt Clarke with the No. 8 pick in 2021. Beckett Sennecke is an offensive threat whenever he has the puck on his stick because of his shooting and playmaking. Sennecke also uses his size to his advantage with smart body positioning to keep the puck away from defenders. The Kings have themselves a possible third liner and penalty killer with Sennecke.

21. Chicago (via TBL) – Ryder Ritchie, RW, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) | Ranked No. 22

Ryder Ritchie first came onto the scene for this year’s draft with his impressive WHL rookie year. He then further impressed with his Hlinka Gretzky Cup performance and showed why he should be considered in the first round in 2024. Ritchie is a smart offensive player, utilizing his skating to give defensemen headaches when he is buzzing around the offensive zone. He is no slouch defensively either, working hard to get back and maintain his positioning. Ritchie is another piece for Chicago to build with, and he should slot well wherever they play him because of his work ethic.

22. Toronto – Jett Luchanko, C, Guelph Storm (OHL) | Ranked No. 47

Jett Luchanko is an incredibly smart middleman. He understands the game of hockey at a truly elite level, and it makes him an intriguing draft option. The Toronto Maple Leafs have drafted players with his archetype before, such as Easton Cowan or Fraser Minten. Hard-working, defensively responsible, and above-average skilled forwards who won’t flash at the junior level but will be valuable bottom-six options in the future. Adding Luchanko to the list makes a lot of sense for GM Brad Treliving and the Leafs.

23. Carolina – Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) | Ranked No. 21

The Carolina Hurricanes are known to take their risks in the draft, but this time they opt for a more projectable player in Sacha Boisvert. The 6-foot-2 pivot moves well for a guy his size, and is also defensively responsible. Boisvert projects well to a third-line center role with his game smarts and occasional scoring touch. His off-puck positioning is also a positive, as he makes himself an available target for his teammates.

24. Vegas – Charlie Elick, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) | Ranked No. 31

Charlie Elick is a mobile defensive defenseman with some offensive touch. He projects well to a bottom pair role with top-four upside, and is a good role model of what the modern defensive defenseman should look like. Smart, big, mobile, and physical, Elick is sure to be any coaches’ favourite penalty killer and fits the mould of what the Vegas Golden Knights will be looking for in their next wave of blueliners.

25. NY Rangers – Jesse Pulkkinen, D, JYP U20 (U20-SM-SARJA) | Ranked No. 24

The New York Rangers have been one of the teams that tends to draft bigger players, and they aren’t afraid to go for overagers either. Jesse Pulkkinen is a very interesting case study who fits both categories. His statistical progression from his draft year to this season has been nothing short of miraculous, and he has put himself in the first-round conversation. At 6-foot-6, he isn’t a standard tall defenseman. He is constantly trying to put more plays on his highlight reel, skating through rather than around defenders to get pucks into the offensive zone. Pulkkinen’s skill is evident whenever he has the puck, and with proper development could become an incredibly exciting rearguard.

26. Edmonton – Terik Parascak, RW, Prince George Cougars (WHL) | Ranked No. 59

An early-season draft riser is exactly what Terik Parascak is. Though he had just four games of WHL experience coming into this season, Parascak is on pace for nearly 100 points as a rookie. The way he racks up these points is with his impeccable timing and smarts. He arrives at the net front as the shot is placed on net, to find himself tapping in wide open rebounds. While his skills aren’t high-end, they are about average. A player of his skillset could be a bottom-six player with offensive potential in the NHL one day, and the Edmonton Oilers shouldn’t be against adding that to their prospect pool.

27. Dallas – Andrew Basha, LW, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) | Ranked No. 30

Andrew Basha’s game revolves around his skating. He’s quick, agile, and strong on his edges. Basha also showcases his ability to be a high-end playmaker. He analyzes the defense, finds lanes, and snaps a puck to his teammate. Basha may not project to a bottom-six role very well, but the Dallas Stars are known to take players for upside on draft day.

28. Philadelphia (via FLA) – Tanner Howe, C, Regina Pats (WHL) | Ranked No. 37

Tanner Howe is a hard-working, two-way center. What he may lack in size he makes up for with his determination to excel. Howe fits into any system because of this work ethic. While he may be slight in size, he projects well to a bottom-six role. His skills are above average and he isn’t afraid to throw a hit. Howe is a good piece for Philadelphia to add, and should be a valuable penalty killer as well.

29. Colorado – Nikita Artamonov, LW, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL) | Ranked No. 50

Nikita Artamonov started the season in the KHL club’s top-six. His playmaking and off-puck positioning is what sets him apart from other draft eligible prospects. His ability to make plays under pressure and think ahead is what makes Artamonov a valuable complementary forward. The Colorado Avalanche are a team with a core that is good enough as it is, that they can take risks on draft day. While Artamonov may not project well to a bottom-six role, he is a potential top-six winger if he develops his game well enough.

30. Montreal (via WPG) – Aron Kiviharju, D, HIFK (Liiga) | Ranked No. 28

The Canadiens took David Reinbacher top-5 last season, and with Aron Kiviharju, they might just his future d-pair. Kiviharju, once a highly touted prospect for the 2024 draft, has had trouble fully adapting to Finland’s professional league. He still showcases his immense hockey IQ and passing abilities, but an injury early in the season has definitely hurt his draft stock. This is a boom-or-bust pick, and Montréal can afford to take the risk with their current core.

31. Ottawa (via BOS) – Henry Mews, D, Ottawa 67’s (OHL) | Ranked No. 16

The Ottawa Senators could be inclined to take the hometown defenseman Henry Mews in the first round. Mews is a great skater, with agility and mobility that is so valued in the professional realm of hockey. While he may have some in-zone defensive issues, Mews has progressed a lot with defense as a whole this season and should be a valuable prospect. His offensive game is his forte however, finding breakout passes and joining the rush to create odd-man rushes.

32. Calgary (via VAN) – EJ Emery, D, U.S. National U18 Team (NTDP) | Ranked No. 35

EJ Emery is another modern defensive defenseman. While his upside might be limited, there is a good chance you are looking at a player who will at least be a bottom-pair blueliner in the NHL. While it may be a ‘boring’ selection, there is value with players such as Emery. He is a player that coaches should adore once he gets to the NHL, and can be played during crucial defensive moments. With recent trades and the addition of Emery, the Calgary Flames are quickly reshaping their future back-end.

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